New York Giants: Why the G-Men Should Be NFC East Favorites
Remember that time when the Giants defied all the odds, coming out of the NFC East victorious and pummeling Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, surviving the defensive-minded San Francisco 49ers and again overcoming mastermind Bill Belichek and the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLVI?
Yeah? Well, so do I.
But my question is, why?
What have the Eagles done to improve so immensely on an 8-8 2011 campaign, one that Vince Young dubbed "The Dream Team"?
Sure, they acquired two-time Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox from Mississippi State and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe from the Washington Redskins, but where have the Eagles improved on offense?
There's no doubt that LeSean McCoy should (and probably will) be the focal point of Philly's offense, but there are a lot of question marks surrounding him, starting with his quarterback.
Michael Vick threw 18 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in 2011 while missing three games due to some broken ribs, an injury he just nearly avoided this preseason.
With Vick's ribs already wounded entering this season, you can bank on him not making it through an entire 16-game season.
As far as the wide receivers go for the Eagles, please do not get me started on DeSean Jackson.
At this rate, I''d go as far to say that I'd take Dez Bryant over Jackson, because with either player you're going to get a cocky, self-centered "star," but atleast with Bryant, you get production.
Jackson spent the his entire 2011 campaign sulking over his contract situation that he forgot there was an NFL season going on, as evidenced by just 58 receptions and a mere four touchdowns for the so-called "superstar."
Jeremy Maclin is a nice young receiver, but he too battled injuries last season and missed three games, and will likely be without Vick for a few games this season.
I give the edge to the Eagles in the secondary and in the running game (until Terrell Thomas returns and David Wilson emerges), but the Giants have the edge everywhere else.
Eli Manning is more reliable, durable and talented than Vick. Manning threw for nearly 5,000 yards and 29 touchdowns to 16 interceptions in all 16 games, while Vick played in just 13 games and threw just four more TDs than picks.
Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are one of the best wideout tandems in the league. Jackson and Maclin don't even compare. Nicks and Cruz combined for 158 receptions, 2,728 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jackson and Maclin had 121 receptions, 1,820 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Giants' defensive line, mainly Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora, is one of the most feared D-lines in the NFL. Jason Babin and Trent Cole are excellent pass rushers too, but the Eagles don't have three premier guys like the Giants do.
I'm not even going to throw the Washington Redskins into this mix because I think they need a few more years to develop Robert Griffin III and add some pieces around him.
Santana Moss had a down year in 2011 and this is Pierre Garcon's first season in Washington, and these guys have a rookie quarterback throwing to them.
The speed of an NFL game is a lot faster than college, and the preseason isn't just an instant indicator that a player will have success at the NFL level.
Although the Redskins have a history of beating the Giants, I don't think they're going to factor into the NFC East race down the stretch.
That leaves us with America's team (or at least that's what they think), the Dallas Cowboys.
It's been how many years now with Tony Romo at the helm that Dallas has failed to make it past the divisional round of the playoffs?
As long as Romo is under center for the Dallas Cowboys, they're not going to win a championship. How does Jerry Jones not realize this?
Romo failed in 2006, failed in 2007 and failed in 2009 in the postseason, whereas Manning has an outstanding playoff resume.
As I noted earlier, Bryant still needs to mature, but there's no doubt he has the skill set to be an elite wideout in the NFL.
Being a Jersey boy, I'm also a big fan of Miles Austin (Monmouth University alumni), but he played in just 10 games in 2011 and at times seemed like he was on a different page than Romo.
DeMarco Murray was extremely impressive last season in the backfield for the Cowboys, but he too went down with an injury and doesn't have experience in the league.
Who wins the NFC East?
Jason Witten is an elite tight end, but he's currently sidelined with a lacerated spleen and is in jeopardy of missing the opener against the G-Men on September 5, according to ESPN.
The Cowboys defense should look better this season, but there's no way they should be regarded as a favorite to win the NFC East over the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Let's not forget who's got the hardware, a clutch quarterback, a deadly wide receiver duo, an electrifying rushing game and a concrete defense entering this season.
It's your New York football Giants.
Hit me up on Twitter and let's talk some Giants football: Follow @Pete_Schauer
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